Happy Hour

Happy Hour

Happy Hour. The literal phrase is delightful. The concept is brilliant. The saying is a completely American invention created during the 1920’s prohibition era. The slogan was used at speakeasies (another great phrase) to denote drinking before dinner.

Yes, it is true that the idiom is usually associated with cocktails after a stressful day of work. However, this fact doesn’t mean that you must become inebriated in order to create a happy hour for yourself.

There are millions of other things you could do with that time that would bring you joy.  I have listed 10 ideas below, but I would love to hear your ideas.  Write me and tell me what you would do with your happy hour. The point is to carve out an hour to let your hair down and devote it to your own happiness.

1. Listen to new music. Music has just as much power to lift your spirits as alcoholic spirits. You might already listen to music all day long, and have your favorites, but what if you devoted an hour to discovering to a brand new artist or even fresh songs by your favorite artists? How sublime! And then dance to it. Even better… 

2. Play with your kids or pets.  Children and animals could teach us a thing or two about happy hour  - it’s all day long for them. Instead of merely watching them play, go to the nearest playground, dog park or animal shelter (click here to watch vlog of how I celebrated my birthday with my friends at an animal shelter) and PLAY!

3. Make someone’s day: send hand written notes or long personal e-mails to your friends. We all receive plenty of many emails per day (usually only a few sentences in length), but when was the last time you received a hand written note or a long email that wasn’t addressed to 50 other people? It makes my day and certainly my hour when someone takes the time to write me a personal note. 

4. Take a nap.  In America, we are pressured to be productive at all times, If you aren’t checking something off your list, you’re considered lazy. Americans do not have time to rest. In Mediterranean countries, it’s the opposite. People who don’t nap are considered odd. In Italy, Spain, Greece, India and the South of France, the siesta is a sacred, post lunch, digestive ritual observed by all, except tourists.

5. Watch the sunset. At vacation destinations everywhere, you will always see a crowd watching the sunset. Why do we stop this ritual when we return home? Some of us actually live in places that are considered a vacation destination and rarely stop to watch nature in all its glory.  Or as Thoreau said so magnificently, “ Nature is mythical and mystical always, and works with the license and extravagance of genius. She has her luxurious and florid style as well as art”.

6. Pamper yourself. How luxurious, how indulgent! What a happy hour that would be, if once a day, you devoted an hour to pampering yourself! We all know what a bath can do to ease your weary mind and muscles, but baths are not the only way to pamper yourself. These are a few free and easy ideas: lay down after work and put chamomile tea bags on your eyes with a relaxing CD playing, coat your feet with peppermint lotion and put on thick cotton socks or give yourself a homemade sugar scrub.

7. Engage in a sport. If you don’t have a favorite one yet, start with walking or stretching.  You might dread this one at first, having heard it a zillion times, but you will be amazed at how much energy and clarity you will have afterward.  I promise you that if you do it daily, it will soon become addictive and eventually it will make you happy. If you already play (notice the verb) a sport, just wait and see what happens when you play for an hour everyday!

8. Keep a fun diary. Most of us have written in our journals from time to time: a thought here and there or to help us release our woes during troubled times. But that isn’t fun. Take your happy hour to write in a special diary that is all about pleasure: places you want to visit, romantic fantasies, favorite TV shows, what you would do if you won the lottery.

9. Get crafty. This one is even better with a friend. Find a friend that knits or makes scrapbooks or quilts and start a project together.


10. The original Happy Hour. This blogpost would be incomplete if I didn’t include the happy hour that inspired me to write it.  Design your happy hour to suit your personal style. Dress up and have a drink at the snazziest hotel bar in town. Sing karaoke. Make really elaborate drinks (such as cupcake martinis) and have your friends over for Happy Hour.

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